- McDonald's -

Another response...

Posted by: Rex ( McSpotlight, UK ) on February 11, 19100 at 14:37:30:

In Reply to: is bullshit and they know it posted by Roy on February 11, 19100 at 13:34:09:

: : 30,000+ pages of court evidence and the sworn testimony of over 80 witnesses; 'utter bullshit'?

: : Well, obviously, you're the expert...

: Oh no, you are! This looks like Mc. Making other people 'shut up'. As you are always saying.

No, Roy.

This is a moderated forum; if we had wanted to shut you up, your message wouldn't have got through; we would have rejected it.

However, we believe in a free debate and free speech, which is why we let abusive posts criticizing us through - we believe you have an equal right to comment as we do.

(McDonald's doesn't.)

: : Actually, it's not just our opinion; that's one of the points the McLibel defendants won; it is the view of the UK legal system.

: Yes, the UK system, but isn't Mc everywhere?

The McLibel case took place in the UK; it wasn't tried anywhere else.

However, according to the letter of the law, it applies in the US as well, since the plaintiffs in the case were McDonald's UK and McDonald's Inc.

This case would not have happened in many countries in the world due to rights protecting freedom of speech; it could never have happened in the US, for example. It took place because UK libel law has its own peculiar structure which leaves the system open to usage by those with money and power (at the expense of those with neither).

Basically, the UK libel laws are unfair; and McDonald's exploited this over 30 times before the McLibel trial came to court.

(See a small list of other lawsuits here)

: : You can make money by using confidence tricks on the stupid - it's certainly sound business practice; but does this automatically make it ethical?

: Ah, so all Mc visitors are STUPIDS? Just like you.

Did we say that? - no.

What we said was that McDonald's targeted ads at small children (under 8) who do not have the experience at disseminating ads that adults do. McDonald's is taking advantage of their lack of education in the ways of the world. This is unethical in our opinion.

: : McDonald's targets advertising at those who are too young to exercise critical judgement; and uses the influence they have over their parents to increase McDonald's revenue.

: Well great, so a child can force it's parents to go to a Mc nowadays? Looks science-fiction, but - you think - it's true.

"Ronald loves McDonald's and McDonald's food. And so do children, because they love Ronald. Remember, children exert a phenomenal influence when it comes to restaurant selection. This means you should do everything you can to appeal to children's love for Ronald and McDonald's."

- Quoted verbatim from McDonald's Operations Manual, as shown in court.

Are you seriously saying that McDonald's don't think kids affect their parents' choice of restaurant? - because McDonald's would disagree with you there.

: : Furthermore, their adverts have been misleading; misleading about the harsh realities of the slaughterhouse system (the adverts pretend that hamburgers come from a 'hamburger patch' - anyone under the age of about 8 doesn't know that this is a lie) and misleading about the nutritional benefits of McDonald's food (which is why the deputy attorney-general of Texas banned some of their advertising).

: So all the flyers with nutritionfacts are one big lie, and they're still in all stores? Strange, normally misleading information leads to a fine. Why not now?

"We investigated McDonald's for a series of advertisements that promoted McDonald's food as nutritious. From an analysis of the content of McDonald's food as a whole, it was determined that McDonald's food was, as a whole, not nutritious. Virtually all of the products sold by McDonald's contained one or more attributes- such as high fat, high saturated fat, high sodium content, and various additives- that made them food that should be avoided. Therefore an advertising campaign that depicted McDonald's as a purveyor of healthy, nutritious foods-as this campaign did-was deceptive and therefore illegal under the laws of the States of California, New York, and Texas."

- Stephen Gardner ; former Assistant Attorney General, Texas - Nov 1984 - Dec 1991, speaking in court during the McLibel Trial.

Let's also take an internal McDonald's memo from 1986 on the subject of nutrition;

"McDonald's should attempt to deflect the basic negative thrust of our critics.....How do we do this? By talking 'moderation and balance'. We can't really address or defend nutrition. We don't sell nutrition and people don't come to McDonald's for nutrition".

Do you really expect McDonald's to jump up and down and advertize that their food isn't nutritious, or that they have been penalized by the law for false advertising?

: : As for Benson and Hedges, everyone knows cigarettes are bad for you; so no tobacco company would be foolish enough to try and sue people for saying so. However, McDonald's have issued over 30 libel writs on people who dared to criticize them; knowing that the size of McDonald's spending power would tilt the balance of any court case towards McDonald's.

: Tabacco industry doesn't sew 'cause they know they won't win. But Mc sews you because it's not true.

Really? That's not what the evidence says; and believe us, we've got a lot of evidence - much of it from McDonald's themselves.

: Ans for Mc being so big...tobacco industry is to so they'll also have the best lawyers etc.

However, the link between smoking and cancer is so clear that no-one would challenge it; the link between diet and ill-health is harder to prove, which is why McDonald's are so litigious in defending themselves. However, as I showed above, they freely admit that their food isn't nutritious and that a diet heavy in McDonald's is likely to lead to ill-health.

: : Basically, they could threaten anyone with court because they knew they had enough money to buy a result favourable to them; the best lawyers, the best support teams and suitable government agencies. All of the libel writs issued prior to the McLibel trial led to retractions on the part of the defendants.

: Isn't threatning in a lawsuit not illegal? Why aren't they sewed for it than?

Of course it isn't. Here in the UK, the libel defendants have to prove their innocence rather than the plaintiffs proving their guilt.

If someone came up to you in the street in the UK and accused you of libel, you would have to prove that you were innocent, rather than them having to prove that you were guilty.

So, for example, a massive company can accuse a small group of libel; giving the group the choice of either a) apologising and backing down or b) defending themselves in court - which costs money; money that the group isn't likely to have.

Given the choice, most groups would apologise; in any arena where money governs how much resources you can throw at a case, a large company is always going to be able to afford more costs than a small group. That's how McDonald's issued 30+ writs without having to go to court; faced with a giant company like McDonald's, most small groups don't stand a chance.

The McLibel Two decided that they wouldn't back down to corporate bullying; and spent three years of their life in court defending themselves against the UK's top libel lawyer.

And the judge ruled that McDonald's was guilty of culpable cruelty to animals, exploiting children and exploiting their workers; a triumph for the Mclibel Two when you consider the odds they were up against.

: : : 2)Nutrition

: : Actually, since both the McLibel team and the McSpotlight team are either vegetarian or vegan, there's no-one here who could be described as 'fat'.

: That's because you'r not having enough nutrition with only vegs. And he didn't said YOU were fat.

He said 'if...', to which I responded; and I'm having quite enough nutrition, thanks; I personally competed in two athletic sports for my University on a vegetarian diet.

: : McDonald's spends over $2 billion a year on advertising. Do you think they would do this if they didn't feel that it generated revenue - would any company spend $2 billion a year trying to control the public's consumption if advertising had no effect?

: To sell more products, I guess. Why are Sony, Phillips and EVERY other company spending money on advertisment? A small company spends little money, a big company a lot of money. Never had Economics at school?

Why would advertising sell more products if it didn't have any effect one way or the other?

If they advertise to sell more products, it's because they think that advertising works; it controls the customer's choice. Never had Logic at school?

: : No. Plainly and simply, advertising gives the company some control over the mental space of the potential customer; or it wouldn't exist.

: See above for my reaction.

And ours.

: : : 3)Environment
: : : Everyone pollutes. That is the bottom line, no arguement needed. Everytime you shit, piss, buy condoms, you are polluting.

: : Meat takes 35 times as much natural resources (fuel, water, etc) to produce as an energy-equivalent amount of vegetables.

: So why not fight against butchers? They're selling tons and tons more than Mc sells over the whole world. And humans need meat, that's how it is. The law of nature. And I can buy it at a butcher or another restaurant or at Mc.

McDonald's is the world's largest single consumer of meat worldwide.

And we don't 'need' meat; we are omnivores, and can survive perfectly well without.

: : Because a) vegetables lack a central nervous system; making it unlikely that they suffer 'pain' as we know it and b) meat-eating is 35 times more polluting than plant-eating.

: Why are vegeterians always pale and alternative? They're always fighting against everything. Roads, airtraffic EVERY little thing and... there they are again with they're long hair and green clothes.

I'm not pale; I work a 9-5 job in computing; your simple stereotypes are laughably inaccurate. What I'm against is attacks on freedom of speech and liberty; and McDonald's is right up among those trying to silence free speech.

: : : 5)Employment
: : : McDonalds does NOT EXPLOIT WORKERS. The workers know what they are getting paid and what they have to do, BEFORE THEY WORK FOR THEM. Just cause they get paid minimum wage dont mean you can say they exploit workers.

: : "...it was fair comment to say that McDonald's employees worldwide 'do badly in terms of pay and conditions'" - McLibel Appeal judgement, p.247

: They said so, so it's true. So if Mc says it's a honnest company, than that's also true.

Not in the eyes of the law it's not; the law is the arbiter of legality in the state. You can't have one law for people and another for big companies.

: : They are exploited; they are working under constant risk in a high-stress environment and corners are frequently cut on safety; it was the case when Mark Hopkins was electrocuted and killed by faulty equipment in a Manchester McDonald's in 1992 while working there.

: 1 man killed, I know company's where people die every week. Like IKEA exploits kids. And Mc isn't forcing anyone to work for them. There's something like QUIT. And not everywhere they're paying you minimum wage.

Sid Nicholson, McDonald's UK vice president said that McDonald's UK "couldn't actually pay any lower wages without falling foul of the law".

He then went on to say "I do not accept that McDonald's crew are low paid".

- so, he's paying them the legal minimum, but they're not low-paid? - not exactly a great mathematician, is he?

: : Furthermore, since McDonald's is the largest single fast-food company, their employment standards become the norm; to compete, any other fast food restaurant has to employ comparable practices to compete.

: That's just a good thing, if it's so bad why not do something different, cause it's a good system. Other companies can compete with them by a better work environment.

Because McDonald's also act to stop any improvement in the workplace for their workers; they lobbied the UK Government against improving working standards in 1997; they try to shut down any union before it has a chance to form and "they would not be allowed to carry out any overt union activity on McDonald's premises".

: : : Finally my opinion on WHY you guys made a website like this.

: : We made it because McDonald's tried to use their corporate muscle to silence criticism in the High Court; the purpose of McSpotlight was to make all the evidence that McDonald's tried to hide part of the public domain forever.

: So you're trying to reveal something that doesn't exist. 'Couse if it's all true why isn't it revealed yet.

It is revealed; and it does exist; if you'd even tried to examine the issues or the case, you would see that this is pretty obvious.

: : : What do you expect to accomplish? Fame?

: : We've done what we set out to accomplish; the ugly side of McDonald's is here for the entire world to see; and will remain so.

: Go ahead, don't think it'll work. Last week for instance the 200st store in the Netherlands was openend, great he!

And last November, PETA joined the campaign against McDonald's, quoting the evidence from the McLibel case; their Meat Stinks campaign draws largely on evidence brought up in the McLibel case.

PETA have a lot of financial muscle; and have started launching anti-McDonald's billboard ads; the anti-McDonald's message is getting stronger all the time; and McDonald's suffered such a PR disaster over the McLibel Trial that they are unlikely to throw libel suits around so lightly again.

: : We didn't seek fame; however, we've got a fair number of awards and a number of favourable reviews in major and minor newspapers across the world.

: They sometimes have got empty pages to fill, so they use you, sorry to tell. And protests always attract media. So you're not so special.

"If Web sites are the asteroids of cyberspace, surely the McSpotlight page is it's Death Star!" - Interactive Week, July 22nd 1996.

Apathetic, eh? - McSpotlight has been called 'the blueprint for all Web protest sites' as well; hardly faint praise.

: : : I know its not fortune cause you know you wont get shit out of McDonalds except get sued.

: : Since the McLibel Trial, they wouldn't dare.

: Ohhh, you're all at once sooo mighty. Looks like a familiar company...

The McLibel Trial was a PR disaster for them. If they compounded their folly by trying to shut McSpotlight up, they would double that PR disaster as well as generating any number of attacks from 'net users sympathetic to us. So they try to pretend we don't exist.

: : Marketing Week described the McLibel Trial as 'the biggest PR disaster in history'; McDonald's aren't stupid enough to try and make things worse for themselves by shutting us up; and since we exist in 6 countries, they don't have the ability to 'turn us off' in one country.

: Wasn't Mc in 118 countries, so you've got a long way to go! They "don't have the ability", no, ofcourse not, they can't do you any harm, he.

For McDonald's to shut McSpotlight down would require a co-ordinated effort in 6 countries; all of whom have separate legal systems; some of which would expressly forbid the shutting down of McSpotlight (the USA, for example).

They would have to co-ordinate a worldwide shutdown at exactly the same time all over the world, or McSpotlight would continue to function normally. And even if they did that, we have a number of backup countries and any number of people equipped with CD-ROMs of McSpotlight; we could be set up in 5 or 6 new countries in a matter of hours.

To add to that, any attack on the freedom of the speech on the 'net would be viewed as an assault; McDonald's would only gain enemies by trying.

So no, they don't really have the ability to silence us without a) prohibitive costs and b) a PR catastrophe.

: : In the last 3 years and 11 months we've had over 90 million visitors.

: People get lost, that's a fact. And there are a lot of positive reactions, and maybe, you've filtered some out, to do YOU no harm.

We don't filter out posters if they're on topic and not too abusive - or your message wouldn't make it through. The fact that it did shows that we do permit criticism of ourselves; unlike McDonald's.

Remember, we have the power of censorship here; but we don't exercise it just because you disagree with us. Or else I wouldn't be spending my lunch break writing a long reply to you.

: : The word is getting out.

: Where?

Take a look...

Rex, McSpotlight.

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